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Looking ahead, staying ahead

Deloitte Review, issue 25

If creating a winning customer value proposition is akin to scoring a goal, doing so in today’s environment is like shooting with moving goalposts. How can we know the right direction to shoot in a rapidly changing environment?
Joseph B. Ucuzoglu

BEING a successful senior business leader has never been easy. Leadership—in any era—has always needed to drive the creation of products, services, and experiences that delight customers, and do so under constant threat of competitors creating something better. Making important business decisions in the face of uncertainty and a highly competitive environment has, and likely always will be, extremely challenging.

If creating a winning customer value proposition is akin to scoring a goal, doing so in today’s environment is like shooting with moving goalposts. Customer expectations are changing, driven by advancing technology and a competitive landscape that is constantly offering something new and better. More than ever, what was good enough to win last year is unlikely to be good enough this year, and almost certainly won’t work two or five years from now. This means leaders should constantly challenge their organization to do things differently, creating a burning platform for change even when they are currently enjoying significant success. The question is: What direction to take? How can we know the right direction to shoot?

Foresight on this level can be hard to achieve. In an age of unprecedented cultural and demographic diversity, what does it really mean to understand one’s customers or take care of one’s people? With digital technology permeating every aspect of business and society, how can organizations marshal digital capabilities to help drive innovation and improve efficiency?

That’s where we aim to help. This issue of Deloitte Review digs into the pressing business concerns of today, past the level of platitudes and sound bites, to explore how organizations can achieve meaningful, sustainable results both now and in the future. In the pages that follow, you’ll find insights on topics including:

  • Digital transformation. Organizations across industries are racing to “digitally transform” their operations and invest in their long-term future. But what does it really mean to be “digitally mature”—and what actions can an organization take to get there?

  • Cybersecurity beyond the IT function. There’s a whole world of cyber risk outside the mainframes and systems of corporate IT infrastructures, and the target is the technology that increasingly pervades the products and services that organizations offer to customers. How can companies protect their customers—and themselves—from these risks?

  • Regulating digital reality. Imagine that someone has digitally “sprayed” a rude phrase, visible only through augmented reality glasses, on one of your billboard advertisements. Do you have the right to do something about it? Does government? How does the progressive blending of digital and physical space affect the role of regulation in both?

  • Complex disruption. We all know that breakthrough new technologies can disrupt the market, upending whole industries. But how prepared are leaders to recognize and deal with disruption that arises, not from a specific invention, but from a confluence of disparate socioeconomic, marketplace, and technological trends?

  • The workplace of tomorrow. Open office layouts have been quite the rage over the past few years, but it turns out that workers don’t always welcome them with open arms. How can organizations approach designing the physical workspace in ways that drive positive results?

In the pages that follow, I encourage you to explore these and the many other questions we raise in this installment of Deloitte Review. Because when it comes to anticipating and dealing with change, keeping up with everyone else is no longer enough. Creating and sustaining value today depends on setting yourself apart in ways your competitors haven’t even thought about—continually looking ahead to understand what drives superior performance.

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Cover image by: Sam Chivers

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